China to finally get Wi-Fi-enabled iPhone

AFP is reporting that the iPhone 3GS will finally be available with Wi-Fi capability in China.

From the report:

China Unicom, the only telecom operator offering Apple’s iPhone in the world’s largest mobile market, said Friday that it would start selling the smartphone with WiFi function next week. But from Monday, Unicom will offer customers an eight-gigabyte version of the iPhone 3GS model with wireless Internet capability, Unicom said in a statement on its website.

“It will be offered in only a few provinces at first” as wider distribution will take time, a company official, who declined to be named, told AFP.

Analysts say the government had opposed phones equipped with the feature out of fear that state-owned telecoms firms would lose revenue due to the large number of free wireless hotspots in the country.

In addition, Unicom has reiterated its desire to carry the iPhone 4 “later this year” while it is currently negotiating with Apple with regard to bringing the iPad to the Chinese market.

A full list of iPhone four launch dates and operators across the Asia Pacific region can be found here.